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...If I am unable to share in the hesitation expressed by one of them on the authorship of the stanzas on "Pastoral Poetry," I can as little share in the feelings with which they have intruded into the charmed circle of his poetry such compositions as "Lines on the Ruins of Lincluden College," "Verses on the Destruction of the Woods of Drumlanrig," "Verses written on a Marble Slab in the Woods of Aberfeldy," and those entitled "The Tree of Liberty."
...the composition of Shenstone, and which is to be found in the church-yard of Hales-Owen: as it is not included in every edition of that poet's acknowledged works, Burns, who was an admirer of his genius, had, it seems, copied it with his own hand, and hence my error. ... When I have stated that I have arranged the Poems, the Songs, and the Letters of Burns, as nearly as possible in the order in which they were written; that I have omitted no piece of either verse or prose which bore the impress of his hand, nor included any by which his high reputation would likely be impaired, I have said all that seems necessary to be said, save that the following letter came too late for insertion in its proper place: it is characteristic and worth a place anywhere.
...Most of the songs which he composed under the influences to which I have alluded are of the first order: "Bonnie Lesley," "Highland Mary," "Auld Rob Morris," "Duncan Gray," "Wandering Willie," "Meg o' the Mill," "The poor and honest sodger," "Bonnie Jean," "Phillis the fair," "John Anderson my Jo," "Had I a cave on some wild distant shore," "Whistle and I'll come to you, my lad," "Bruce's Address to his men at Bannockburn," "Auld Lang Syne," "Thine am I, my faithful fair," "Wilt thou be my dearie," "O Chloris, mark how green the groves," "Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair," "Their groves of sweet myrtle," "Last May a braw wooer came down the long glen," "O Mally's meek, Mally's sweet," "Hey for a lass wi' a tocher,"[li] "Here's a health to ane I loe dear," and the "Fairest maid on Devon banks."
I cannot give to my country this edition of one of its favourite poets, without stating that I have deliberately omitted several pieces of verse ascribed to Burns by other editors, who too hastily, and I think on insufficient testimony, admitted them among his works. If I am unable to share in the hesitation expressed by one of them on the authorship of the stanzas on "Pastoral Poetry," I can as little share in the feelings with which they have intruded into the charmed circle of his poetry such compositions as "Lines on the Ruins of Lincluden College," "Verses on the Destruction of the Woods of Drumlanrig," "Verses written on a Marble Slab in the Woods of Aberfeldy," and those entitled "The Tree of Liberty." These productions, with the exception of the last, were never seen by any one even in the handwriting of Burns, and are one and all wanting in that original vigour of language and manliness of sentiment which distinguish his poetry. With respect to "The Tree of Liberty" in particular, a subject dear to the heart of the Bard, can any one conversant with his genius imagine that he welcomed its growth or celebrated its fruit with such "capon craws" as these?
"Upo' this tree there grows sic fruit,
Its virtues a' can tell, man;
It raises man aboon the brute,
It mak's him ken himsel', man.
Gif ance the peasant taste a bit,
He's greater than a lord, man,
An' wi' a beggar shares a mite
O' a' he can afford, man."
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